THE GOTHIC TOYBOX
This electronic band has a bright future. I hadn't heard of them previously, and I got their CD - WAR - free at a club I frequent as the DJs were handing out promo stuff. I was very pleased with what I heard from a band I'd never heard of. The theme of god, angels, good and evil is thoughtfully probed throughout the album amongst dancey beats and catchy vocals. The airy female vocals provide a nice contrast to the darker male ones. Regenerator is a band with a conscience and a message. That above all else is apparent. Sometimes, I just can't handle listening to yet another song about painful relationships and the oppression of technology....and this group bring me a pleasant change of pace. Regenerator bravely steps into territory that is hardly touched by goth or industrial bands - spirituality. This, I understand is a touchy issue for many people. No one seems to know how to talk about it without offending someone else due to religious differences. Regenerator kicks all the prejudicial crap aside and delivers the spiritual message that many people have forgotten about entirely: Love, peace, faith and hope. They also examine the pain and suffering in our world which has become so commonplace, echoing back questions that we've all asked ourselves at one time or another no matter what we believed. We live in an age where our social structures no longer benefit us, our leaders are failing us, and where things like religion which weren't inherently bad are being used as tools of war. Especially considering the events of 9/11 (for which this disc was a tribute to the victims), this album is a very fitting comment on the state of our world. Regenerator has a way of speaking their message in a way that is unoppressive....as opposed to those religious pamphlets you get handed on the street corner that try to convert you through fear. This band has the nads to say some pretty simple stuff that needs to be said, and is speaking to us in terms we can understand in our day and age. There are several tracks on here that are clubworthy, such as Battleground, Shores of Forever, and God is On My Side. I've already heard them get some club play in my area and I seriously hope that it continues. There is a nice variety of emotion, content and instrumentation evident on this disc to keep you listening. For once, here is an electronic band that is not styling their singers after anyone in particular and seems comfortable with their own sound...a nice change indeed. I can't pick out a single track on this CD that I have qualms about. It's enjoyable from start to finish, and if anything is maybe a bit long. The rhythms are catchy, the vocals are smooth and in tune, and there's a flavor to every song while the album as a whole still retains its overall theme. I really enjoy bands who can give me a sense of meaning and as well as beautiful melodies and danceable songs. Regenerator, like VNV and Assemblage 23, does just that....effortlessly. I'm anxious to see the next release by this band, as this is a solid piece of work. I sincerely suggest checking out this disc.
It was with a lot of anticipation that I awaited the release of this latest album. I have been a fan of this excellent Dark Electro group with their past works and so was extremely pleased when I first heard this album. Since then, it has fast become one of my favorites with the excellent combination of catchy rhythms, dance-floor beats, superb music and wonderful blend of deep, heavy male and beautiful female vocals. This album is a sort of concept, or thematic album dwelling on the atrocities of war and the strength of spiritualism in our lives. The lyrics delve deep into the realms of spirituality and the good vs. evil theme. Involved are themes of hope, love, hypocrisy and overall, WAR. The album begins with the title track and the spoken word, excellently rendered and mixed with slow, heavy beat that makes up this overall instrumental track. A great intro that builds up to the theme and power in this album. While the entire album is extremely noteworthy and I could comment on each track, space and time just doesn't permit such a detailed review. However, I do want to comment on what I think makes up the backbone of this album. Of course, the title track is an excellent intro which gives way to the faster-paced track "Battleground" which seems to be set more in the scene of a heavenly war of good and evil angels that have then decended on us and wage war here on earth, the battleground. "Shores of Forever" is my favorite track on this album, and is also the next track. This picks up more of the theme of Love and the changes that can be wrought by such selfless love in our hearts. And of course, the music is absolutely beautiful, and almost simplistic in nature with Patrice's soaring vocals. Other favorites that fall into this realm are "Take Me", "Faith" and the very slow, heavy driven sounds involved in "Colours". I can't leave this review without commenting on the excellent cover of the Psychadelic Furs', "Love My Way". I've heard different covers of this song, and none that I've heard compares to this version, not even the original seems to touch the amount of power and emotion put into this track! Finally, the album closes with a fast-paced, Club Mix of "War", with soaring vocals with no lyrics, almost like the sound of angels singing. And to close the album, these thoughtful artists include a silent track just over a minute long in remembrance of those touched by the devastating acts of Sept. 11, 2001. I very highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys the Darker Synthpop and EBM music. You'll love every minute of it!
Regenerator have been around since 1992, but have only recently gained a more prominent status, having been one of the first bands signed to the new Wax Trax II label. They are a band I find a bit slippery to understand. I found that for awhile it was hard to decide what I thought of their latest release, War. That I shifted back and forth as I thought more about them was, strangely, the actual thing that tipped the scales over in their favour. They are a complex and strange creation, and this interests me. Musically, War is dance floor EBM, mixing male and female vocals together. The music on some tracks stands out above others, but as with the EBM genre, there is nothing terribly impressive, but well crafted and worthy of sitting along side most other EBM albums. It is the band itself and their philosophy which separates them. It is what I find interesting about them and is something that I have been trying to understand. Interestingly enough, it was their philosophy which shifted the scales against them for me, with their last album, Debugged. But I feel that their ideology has changed, or at least, the way they present it has changed, so it doesn't irritate me as much anymore. Their music has always had a spiritual nature to it, but they have now dropped their heavy Christian attitudes of previous albums. The music may still be considered Christian, but it isn't as preachy and opts for a more positive stance. Whereas the previous album, Debugged, contains many references to Christ (thanking him in their liner notes for one) and specific Christian dogma and teaching, and focuses on the more dogmatic condemnation of non-believers, War contains only references to God, and an altered approach that breaks away from your standard catholic/protestant theology. It is almost as if they have had a re-awakening to their beliefs, realizing that organized religion has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. In fact, in their liner notes on War, they state that they do not support any organization of human religion. Being a very unspiritual and atheistic (sometimes to fanatical degrees) person I can accept the beliefs of others and listen to them, if there is something in them that I find interesting, or some other factor that I can agree with that helps me overcome my initial repulsion of religious inspired music. Regenerator have done that by offering an alternative view to things. Their attitudes concerning governments and organized religion, for example, strike a cord with me. Their religious ideology is still a bit of a problem for me, but I can overlook it since I feel that their music no longer seems to judge others (specifically the sinning infidel that I am) and does not attempt to forcibly convert the listener. They are expressing their views, and leave it up to you to find/or not find any meaning in what they say. I'm particularly drawn, however, to Battleground (track 2), which has an interesting fairly long sample; a sample that appeals to me and my opposition to what is going on in the US right now. It speaks of people who have allied themselves with 'the prince of darkness'. "Their ultimate goal is to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth without god. They use American finance and military power to bring all other nations under control and of course to consolidate this idea by making one world government which I personally believe will be the government of the coming anti-Christ." Which is sort of a prophetic/metaphoric way of describing the very events that are hogging all the media coverage of late. The corrupt and 'evil' US government/industry/media have begun this absurd propaganda creation called the 'war on terrorism'. Could George W Bush be the anti-Christ? Doubtful. You would hope the anti-Christ would be smarter and less of a dork, but often the dork that everyone sees is just a distraction from the real problem, those who control him. However, this track specifically, and the rest of the CD in general which was written before 'the incident', must have been too near the truth, and controversial coming out so soon after 'the incident', that someone (the label, the band, etc.) thought to add a couple of tracks at the end of the CD to appease those brainwashed Americans who believe all the propaganda they see and would be outraged by any thoughts that contradict the official Pentagon way of seeing things. I'm also disappointed with the last track, which consists of a minute and a bit of empty silence and is entitled A Moment of Silence, dedicated to the 'victims of the terrorist attacks on 11.09.2001'. Fine. Americans were killed, but every day people are killed BY Americans and BY American policy. So many people murdered (not 'destroyed' as the Renegerator's website proclaims in their 'statement about war' in regard to the Iraqi's murdered by the US during the Gulf War). So many people murdered by the will of the US in fact, that these 3000 or so seem quite a small number, and really not worth forcing me to listen to a minute of empty space each time I put this CD on (yes, this may sound cruel and harsh, but what about the creuty of the minutes not decicated to all those millions of others?). And besides, the only difference between this action and what the US has been doing for decades is that finally, as Noam Chomsky put it, 'the guns are facing the other way.' Let's not focus on the effect and instead spend some time looking at the cause. Can this particular reference and blank space be excused or is it just another example of America's dominance over the media, which no matter how you attempt to argue against it, seems to value the lives of Americans more than anyone else? Either way, the track can be ignored. The Post Attack Club Mix of the title track, War, however, is different. This track confused me, and after some thought, infuriated me. There are some weird things happening in this song, and I don't know how much of it they meant, and how much of it I'm just reading into it. First off, why even call it the Post Attack Club mix? Seems at first sort of tacky, even to me. In light of the prophetic samples on Battleground, one would almost think this, the track written after 'the incident', would be a warning to oppose US reaction. But I don't think so. In fact, it is almost patriotic to 'the cause'. For example, it actually uses George W. Bush's voice in a sample, something that is never going to win points with me, unless used to show what a fucking fascist madman he is. But it doesn't. The samples are placed in a very curious way. "The sons of Light" comes another voice (from the original), followed by GWB saying "Peace and security." "The sons of darkness" comes the original again, to which GWB says "Terrorism and war." It is this very peace and security which has been used by the pentagon-propaganda machine to justify the terrorist and war like actions of the United States Government, the #1 terrorist state in the world. But in this song, I sort of get the impression that the placement of the samples means Sons of Light = the so called 'global war against terrorism', 'Sons of Darkness' = Countries that don't bow down to the tyranny of the United States, so called 'rogue' states, demonized and ill represented countries whose status feeds the US war machine. This could have been an opportunity for Regenerator to say something about what is going on at the moment, but instead, they offer us this post attack tripe. But let's forget about Regenerator's appeasement tracks. Overall, I enjoy the CD. What I like is that it made me curious about its lyrics, curious about what they are saying. And although I mostly don't agree with their thoughts, that they have something to say, something not so typical and cliché, is enough for me.
CATCHY DARKWAVE EBM: The latest release from Regenerator further solidifies the California duo's dark electro pop sound. Throughout War, the team of Patrice Synthea and Wrex Mock concentrate on bringing forth a smooth electro feel heavily geared for the dancefloor and bound together by pounding rhythms, searing synths, intriguing dual vocals, and a strong sense of melody. The result is a catchy mix of EBM, darkwave, and a subtle touch of synth pop best displayed on the retro electro industrial of "Battleground" or the simmering synths of the infectious "Blink". However, Regenerator does more than produce cold dance music; all through War, there's an underlying sense of empowerment and spirituality which comes out most from nearly all of the lyrics on the album. Songs such as "Take Me" and "Faith" almost reveal a belief in a more meaningful life that has yet to be achieved, all of which are set to a backdrop of danceable electronics and the enticing mix of lush, angelic female vocals and deep male vocals. Although much of War showcases a more energetic electro edge, Regenerator mangages to slow thigs down as heard on "Nowhere" or the crisp electro goth stylings of the somber, "Colours." Also included on the album is the band's great cover of "Love My Way," where they inject an eerie duality to this Psychedelic Furs classic. With War, Regenerator's brand of introspective smooth electro shows more emotion through both intelligent lyrics and irresistible vocals. What we get is a very personal collection of accessible electro pop that is as addictive as it is reflective. ~Brian Lumauig
BALLISTIC TEST ZINE
This review is based on the European limited edition double CD set. This set comes in a DVD case with the "War" album, a bonus CD with remixes, and extra photos of the band. Four tracks are listed as the "European mix" and will likely differ somewhat from the North American release of the album. These tracks are: "Shores of Forever", "Take Me", "Wasteland", and "Love My Way". Regenerator is one of my most favourite bands of all time. The combination of male and female vocalists harmonizing and playing off each other over dance beats and dark electronic textures is hard to resist. "War" is their fifth full length album, appearing on the new Belgium-based label Alfa Matrix. While 1999's "Debugged" was a good album, I felt that musically Regenerator may have peaked on "Soulseeker", their third album from 1997. "War" quickly erases those sentiments, proving to be an instantly appealing leap forward with increased depth, unforgettable melodies, infectious energy and lyrical prowness. The ideas for "War" were conceived before the post 9-11-01 global war on terrorism but its end time themes carry increased significance in retrospect. Unlike Saviour Machine or Judean Radiostatic whose lyrics tend to be directly based on Scripture to convey an apocalyptic portrayal, Regenerator accomplishes this through the use of voice samples, spoken word bits and self-written lyrical imagery. In "Battleground" for example, you'll hear commentary on the formation of a one world government and the emergence of the antichrist. Within the theme of war, the band continues to pen positive minded lyrics of a spiritual dimension as Christian artists. Musically, the album has no shortage of thumping dancefloor beats. The tempo is obviously higher than "Debugged" with more complicated beats and depth to surrounding textures. This is a very melodic, upbeat, dancey album. Although both Wrex and Patrice can be heard in most tracks, and there is even an additional layer of female vocals in parts from a guest vocalist, this is much closer to synthpop/Euro dance music than industrial/EBM than was the case before. Other than "This World", there really aren't any prolonged times when Wrex dominates the song with tougher, grittier vocals like he does on "The Crusher" from "Debugged" for example. These elements will likely make the album more accessible to a broader audience. Specific tracks that I really enjoy are: the ethereal paradise imagery of "Shores of Forever", the worshipful "Bombs Away", and "Wasteland" which integrates lovely cello strings, similar to the ones heard in the popular "Horn of David" track. These three will likely be played the most at dance clubs of any tracks on the album. Also noteworthy is "Love My War" which is a cover of the 1982 song by the Psychedelic Furs. I'm not familiar with the original version but this interpretation is very good and catchy. The bonus CD is 40 minutes long containing remixes of tracks from "War" mostly by other artists such as Aiboforcen, Mach and Dust of Basement, plus one exclusive track "M.I.A." that is not on the first CD. While I was hoping that someone would do a more darkwave ambient or harder industrial interpretation of Regenerator's music here, that is not the case. Techno, electronica, and dub flavours are applied while the high tempo stays steady throughout giving the dancefloor another solid workout. Each remix does something noticeably different from the original and each other so I don't get the feeling that things are too repetitive. The ravolution mix of "Shores of Forever" by neikka rpm is one of the more unique mixes of the bunch, putting a hypnotic dub and house spin on the proceedings. The missle in action mix of "M.I.A." by Mach also stands out with a strong techno flavour and some segments of male vocoded vocals in addition to the melodic singing by Patrice. An awesome experience that surpasses all of their previous releases and is easily an early candidate for best album of 2002. Get the double CD set if you can, it's two hours of bliss. --Richard Maaranen
As a grizzled veteran of The Punk Wars, I tend to associate concept albums with the kind of pomposity which weighed down the pre-punk music scene. Thus it was that I approached Regenerator's new release with a certain amount of caution. Because 'War' - the fifth album by this Californian duo - is...a concept album. And, as concepts go, you can't get much heavier than war (apart, of course, from death or taxes). Fortunately, my fears of a full-on pomp-fest were unfounded, for Regenerator are an electronic band with a certain lightness of touch, and a fine appreciation of light and shade. They are not, thank God, Jean Michel Jarre. Nor are they yet another identikit EBM outfit: the basic format of shouty-bloke-plus-doof-doof-beat is getting increasingly hackneyed these days, and it's a pleasure to find that Regenerator don't tread that well-worn path. There are dance beats here, sure - but, crucially, there's more... The album opens in alarmingly High Concept style with a melodramatic spoken word piece: Wrex Mock, the male half of the duo, intones certain extracts from the Essene War Scroll - one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a particularly bloodthirsty one at that: 'The congregation of the gods and the congregation of men shall engage one another, resulting in great carnage'. Hmmm, I've been to parties like that, too. Then a quick-march beat kicks off, and we're into the harsh electroscapes of 'Battleground', which immediately presents Regenerator's trump card - the interplay between the voices of Wrex Mock and Patrice Synthea. Now, Regenerator are not the first band to feature both a male and female vocalist, but they do it more effectively than most. They have the knack of building up tension in the verse, and then releasing it all with a lilting chorus, where Patrice's wistful tones act as the perfect counterpoint to Wrex's sepulchral Voice Of Doom. The music is uncompromisingly ice-cold electronica, and yet when Regenerator take it to the chorus it all suddenly warms up, like a ray of sunlight breaking through a snow-cold cloudy sky. The only band I can think of who do broadly similar stuff is, perhaps, Attrition, and they always have a strand of amiable English eccentricity running through their music - they don't have the edge, the sense of opposite poles being reconciled, that Regenerator conjure up. 'Take Me', for my money, is the highlight of the album, and could easily stand alone as a single. Regenerator demonstrate their gift for a entwining a lilting melody around a lively beat: the result is a song which would hold its own against all-comers on the dance floor, but also works well as something you can sit and listen to. There's real emotional content here, with Patrice's voice striking just the right wistful-yet-hopeful note. A solo violin wanders in and out of the electronics, a nice organic touch in a sea of synthetics. I'm reminded of the delicate electropop tunes that ex-Throbbing Gristlers Chris and Cosey produced in the 80s. I wonder if Regenerator have ever heard Chris & Cosey's 'October Love Song'? However, if you prefer your electronix with more of a kick, more of an abrasive, heavier, sound, then Regenerator deliver the goods in this area, too. 'Blink' hammers along like an overdriven electric motor, while 'This World' gives us a bleak cinematic soundscape, a post-holocaust nuclear winter: beats crack and clang like sheets of corrugated iron rattling in the wind. 'Bombs Away' employs Regenerator's trademark trick of a harsh, in-yer-face verse, relieved by a chorus you could take home to meet your mother. 'Nowhere', unfortunately, opens with the sound of a modem dialling up, which happens to be my least favourite sound ever, and not even original in this context (Emma Conquest used the same sound on their album, and I'm sure they weren't the first). Fortunately the song itself is a lithe and understated little number, slinking into your ears with an ease that belies the bleak lyric. There's even an interlude for 80s-heads, with a cover of The Psychedelic Furs' 'Love My Way' - not, I have to admit, my favourite Furs song, coming as it does from the band's frankly rather tedious AOR period, but it fits in with the theme here, with lyrics like 'War on the dance floor...' so we'll let it pass. Hey, could've been worse. Regenerator might have covered Culture Club's 'War Song' - that's the one with the less-than-classic lyric, 'War is stupid/And people are stupid'. Not, I fear, one of Boy George's finest moments. Let's be thankful Regenerator passed on *that* one! The album ends with 'A moment of Silence', which is just that - a seven-second (by my CD counter) silent track billed by Regenerator as being 'in memory of the victims of the terrorist atacks on 11.09.2001'. I'm undecided about the worth of this. While it's entirely fitting that such a terrible event should be remembered, tacking seven seconds of silence onto the end of an album doesn't exactly require much effort or thought - it's not as if Regenerator have even written a special song. Personally, I feel this gesture, sincere though I'm sure it is, comes across as a bit of a gimmick. It would have been better, perhaps, simply to dedicate the entire album to the innocent people who died in the terrorist attack on New York - and in the war that came after... Tunestack: War Battleground Shores of Forever God is on my Side Take Me Faith Blink This World Bombs Away Nowhere Wasteland Colours Love My Way War (club mix) A Moment of Silence The players: Wrex Mock: Vocals and instruments Patrice Synthea: Vocals and instruments Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to
ORIGINAL SIN'S DISCOBAR
As far as I know this American duo are new on the EBM-scene and I thought they have joined the stage with VNV Nation in the US and so they were spotted by some German label and "War" is the newest attack on the EBM-front. When you read the title "War" and knowing that this CD is dedicated to those who lost their lives on 11th September in the WTC-towers you kind of expect some brutal EBM-noises in Wumpscut-style but even if all songs are noted with how many beats they have per minute this is rather soft. Regenerator follows the path of the traditional EBM interaction between female and male voices or the eternal contradiction between the beauty and the beast. Even if "War" sounds nice in the category of the new futurepop they are more a bit like LęAme Immortelle or their American friends Assemblage 23. This long album (it lasts 74 minutes! , it contains lots of several clubhits and there is even a splendid cover included of "Love my way" by The Psychedelic Furs. I know that Ięm sounding a bit like a Side-Line reviewer the last months but this is another great EBM-release and in case of interest you can download a free unreleased track by them on their website.
First I would like to thank the Alfa Matrix label for supplying us with very good promos. About this disc: The fifth full-length album of the American duo Regenrator finds its way to my CD player more and more often. Matching current world events, it is called “War”. And just as forceful and triumphant, it grooves its way into the ear. Samples of marching troops, stomping beats, wavy synthesizers, easy melodies, angelic female vocals and slightly distorted male vocals form the unmistakable sound of this band. Electro at its finest! This CD should easily conquer the dance floors of the best clubs (almost all of 15 pieces of the CD).
Special highlights include “Shores of Forever” (my personal favorite) and “Battleground”. Pumping, more “industrial” pieces, like “God is on My Side”, “Blink” , and the club-mix of “War” go straight to the legs. Mixed among these are electro-pop tracks, for example “Take Me” and “Faith”.
The voices of Wrex Mock and Patrice Synthea offer an unbelievably good contrast, while at the same time create a beautiful symbiosis.
This CD is a real highlight this fall. Bands such as Apop, VNV and Convenant should watch out, because here comes real competition! Fortunately they (Regenerator) have a style of their own, different from the above named bands. By the way, typical for alfa-matrix, there is an extra track for the buyer of the CD on their homepage.
On the homepage of the band, there are several songs of older albums that can be downloaded. http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/38/regenerator.html